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ROLE MODEL

A midwife above all else

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Mothers, babies and fellow midwives are the real stars - and Mariama Goodman should know

Bringing new life into the world as a midwife excites Honeyz singer and dancer Mariama Goodman more than any sell-out performance.

“The first delivery always stays in your memory. You put your hands on the baby, and the other midwife puts her hands on yours and you bring the child into the world. The satisfaction from performing is totally different from assisting in childbirth,” she says.

Ms Goodman thought she was destined to perform and focused on that path until she left the Honeyz in 2000 and looked for a more rewarding career.

“When I left the band, I soul-searched for ages for another job that would give me the same sort of satisfaction,” she says.

Ms Goodman went on to achieve a first-class honours degree in midwifery, despite being out of education for 10 years and only holding GCSEs.

“It was incredibly difficult. The other people on the course had just come from A-levels whereas I was about 25 years old. It was a massive change because I wasn’t used to staying in one place.”

Ms Goodman wanted to show that she was more than a member of a girl group.

“This was going to be my career and I wasn’t just doing it for fun or to go to university for a few years. I had to prove I was serious and that I could do the work,” she says.

Her work as a singer did not affect her time at university.

“I have naturally curly hair, which I would straighten for performances. I kept the hair curly, dressed smart and got away with no one recognising me for a good year and a half,” she laughs.

She was worried that her fame would affect her ability to do the job but that hasn’t happened.

“I would completely understand if my singing career made women feel awkward. It worried me because I didn’t want to bring my own baggage into the delivery room. Everything needs to be about the woman having the child. But it hasn’t had any negative effect. It gives them something to talk about,” she says.

Ms Goodman has worked in all aspects of midwifery. She works full time, usually clocking up between 25 and 37 hours every week.

“I do antenatal clinics, deliveries, home births and postnatal home care. I have women ask if I can deliver their babies because they think it’ll be cool,” she laughs.

“When you meet a woman you need to create a bond. She has to trust you and there has to be good dialogue. My past opens up conversation and helps us to get to know one another. You’re a step ahead already.”

The Honeyz are experiencing a revival since their comeback on the ITV2 show The Big Reunion but Ms Goodman has no plans to sideline midwifery.

“Music is in my blood but it’s a selfish pleasure. With midwifery, you’re working on someone else’s behalf. I’m feistier as a midwife than I am doing things for myself, which is good for me because I’m a softie in my other life.

“And I have loads of celebrity women coming to me for pregnancy and childbirth advice but I can’t name drop,” she laughs.

She is concerned that the number of midwives is not enough to meet public demand.

“When I was in training, I found that the support was brilliant both when studying and in work. I think we just need more spaces and more people wanting to go into it,” she says.

Ms Goodman knows that the real stars are the mothers she works with and her colleagues.

“The music stuff has a short shelf life but midwifery will always be there. With music, it’s important to work really hard and have lots of fun, but it’s always going to end within a couple of years.

“I’ll be a midwife until I retire. When people ask me what I do I tell them I’m a midwife and the other stuff is just an added bonus. I love my job.”

Paddy Harris

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